Ethical brand, Collective – who pride themselves on providing fairly made products supplied from sustainable sources – have partnered with iconic photographer Terry O’Neill for a limited edition run of tees and vests. Adorned with some of the photographers greatest images including snaps of Mick Jagger, Naomi Campbell and a crucified Raquel Welch, the Collective Terry O’Neill Editions are on sale now for £60. We Q+A O’Neill and Collective’s Managing Director, Bryan Jandrell, about art, fashion and this special collaboration.
What is your earliest memory of fashion?
Bryan Jandrell: It is hard to recall the exact point to which my noticeable attention turned to fashion. I studied at Central Saint Martins in London so was always surrounded by talented creatives of all disciplines. It was probably here, if any, that I started to appreciate and take note of what was going on.
Terry O’Neill: The very first fashion job I had on a newspaper was to photograph Mary Quant and the miniskirt back in 1964. Jean Shrimpton put the miniskirt on the map when she wore it to the Victoria Derby in Melbourne, Australia, and it caused a public outcry. But the girls on the Kings Road had been wearing them for a while. It was a revolution in women’s fashion and outraged people at the time, though I loved looking at leggy women wearing them!
What is your earliest memory of art?
Bryan Jandrell: Art has always been important to me from a very early age, I was born in South Africa and as a child I would often see artisans and craftsman selling their local pieces by the road, turning their skills into a small business. It really was quite amazing to see what could be created from so little. Art is obviously very subjective but I believe photography more so than ever is being strongly recognised in the art world. Whether it’s a rare Terry O’Neill image of Frank Sinatra or a Chris Levine picture of the Queen, photographic prints are making a big impact.
Terry O’Neill: The first famous picture I ever saw was the Mona Lisa. I went to The Louvre Museum whilst I was covering the shows at Paris Fashion week in the early Sixties. I spent a lot of my time in Les Deux Magots Cafe where all the artists and models hung out on the Left Bank. I went back there recently and it was sad to see that only tourists frequent the place these days.
How did the collaboration between Collective and Terry O’Neill happen?
Bryan Jandrell: It really was one of those at the right place, right time moments. We had just finished our collection with the Bob Carlos Clarke foundation and The Little Black gallery in Chelsea when we were approached by Terry and his team to see if we could fit in another collaboration. Terry’s work is so iconic and unique, for us it was an easy decision to make.
Terry O’Neill: Collective approached me to do a fashion collaboration after my It Girls and Boys show at Tamara Beckwith’s Little Black Gallery in Chelsea. I’ve been approached many times before with similar requests but for some reason it never felt right. But I liked the energy and enthusiasm of Collective and what they represented. Not only did they want to create ‘wearable’ art, but using organic cotton that fosters sustainable development in Africa, which I thought was really cool.
What was the process of finding or deciding which images would be used for the T shirt collection?
Bryan Jandrell: Terry has a treasure chest of stunning images, some more well known than others. This said we had to look beyond the print. When you translate an image onto fabric you are completely changing its context. It takes a lot of tweaking to get the balance right. To add to this it was important that we understood the images, we are not a company that likes to just thrown anything down. For every image Terry would tell us the story behind the shot, the wheres and whys. These pictures really are worth a thousand words.
Terry O’Neill: Collective and I worked together to pick the images for the T-shirt. It was fantastic fun, taking them through my archive and regaling the stories from my career in photography; it brought back so many memories. It was a great day, and the designers were really inspired artistically by my negatives and contacts sheet which comes through in the T-shirt designs.
What do you hope to achieve with this collaboration?
Bryan Jandrell: We must not forget why COLLECTIVE exists in the first place. We want to be able to tell the story of provenance, tell the story from seed to stitch, and to highlight the artisans that have made it all possible, if we can achieve this and create a sense of human agency through collaborative stories then we will be happy
Terry O’Neill: I want to make my artwork accessible to a wider audience, especially a younger generation who may not be able to afford one of my fine art prints, but to whom these iconic images mean something. I hope these T-shirts will become a collectors item, something that people enjoying expressing themselves with and treasure for a long time to come.
Visit www.wearecollective.com for details and ordering information on the Collective Terry O’Neill Edition Collection